|Regions with significant populations|
|Southern California, South Florida, Houston, San Francisco Bay Area|
|American English, Spanish, Mayan languages|
|Evangelical Christianity, Roman Catholic|
Guatemalan Americans (Spanish: guatemalo-americanos, norteamericanos de origen guatemalteco or estadounidenses de origen guatemalteco) are Americans of full or partial Guatemalan descent. The Guatemalan American population at the 2010 Census was 1,044,209. Guatemalans are the third largest Latino group in the United States and the second largest Central American population after Salvadorans. Half of the Guatemalan population is situated in two parts of the country, the Northeast and Southern California.
Guatemalans have emigrated to the USA since the 1930s and 1940s. Along with other Central Americans they first arrived by way of Mexico and settled in urban areas like Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia.
The intensification of the Guatemalan Civil War during the 1970s and 1980s led to an influx of tens of thousands of Guatemalan refugees into the United States via Mexico, via both legal and illegal means. Guatemalan refugees became an important political and economic influence on seeking an end to the civil war, which finally came about in 1996. They also organized to change policies of the Mexican government in dealing with Guatemalan immigrants' legal status, their experience in Mexico, and difficulties of Guatemalans in Mexico immigrating to the US.
During the Guatemalan civil war, there was massive destruction of rural villages and farmlands. In the 1996 peace accords, there was a free exchange of civilian land to favor the rise of corporate agribusinesses with the drop of prices of local agricultural products. This heavily affected farm workers and inhabitants of the countryside and they had to immigrate into the US through Mexican territory.
After September 11, 2001, Mexican officials made new laws through an initiative limiting immigration visas and other repressive measures on the southern Mexican border through Plan Sur, a binational treaty with the Guatemalan government.
Guatemalan Americans are a very culturally diverse group of people, included about 23 distinct ethnic groups, whose languages are different, although maintain unique cultural traditions. The groups are, in majority, Mayan. The Ladino are a different group that speak Spanish language and have the Spanish culture. So, Guatemalan Americans are a multicultural community. This reason is why the assimilation processes, traditional beliefs, and customs vary differently between groups.
Immigrant Mayan American communities have preserved their ethnic customs. The Guatemalans of European descent (most of Spanish ancestries) often mixed with other U.S. Hispanic groups. However, it is unknown the transmission of cultural traditions Guatemalans of immigrants to their descendants by lack of studies, not knowing anything about their descendants.
Some traditions have remained in most neighborhoods of Guatemalan immigrants, especially in Los Angeles, Houston, and southern Florida, sections in that the Guatemalan traditions are being transformed, and lost due to American acculturation. Some Guatemalan traditions are the celebration of Quinceñeros, the formation of soccer leagues, and the Organization de las Fiestas de la Patronal (Organization of Patronal Parties).
The difference with Guatemalans in the US from other Latinos is that a large percentage of Guatemalans are Evangelical Protestants. Guatemala had seen a rise of Protestant and Evangelist churches in the late 20th century, although the majority of Guatemalans are Roman Catholics.
According to the national census in 2006, Protestants constituted about 30% of the population in Guatemala, the majority are from rural indigenous communities. Guatemalan-Americans are a contributor to the rise of Hispanic Protestants in the USA during the 2000s.
Half of the Guatemalan population is situated in two parts of the country, the Northeast and Southern California. A combined population of 267,335 resides in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
The Northeast megalopolis, extending from Northern Virginia to north of Boston is home to a population of 257,729 Guatemalans. Cities such as Langley Park, Maryland, Trenton, New Jersey, Stamford, Connecticut, Providence, Rhode Island, and Lynn, Massachusetts have significant concentrations of Guatemalans along the corridor.
|District of Columbia||2,635||0.4%|
|Total US Guatemalan Population||1,044,209||0.3%|
The largest population of Guatemalans are situated in the following areas (Source: Census 2010):
The top 25 US communities with the highest populations of Guatemalans (Source: Census 2010)
The top 25 US communities with the highest percentages of Guatemalans as a percent of total population (Source: Census 2010)